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Foreign Recipes: Mothers, Daughters and Food in Like Water for Chocolate, The Joy Luck Club and A Chorus of Mushrooms

Michelis, A (2014) Foreign Recipes: Mothers, Daughters and Food in Like Water for Chocolate, The Joy Luck Club and A Chorus of Mushrooms. Crossroads: A Journal of English Studies, 1/2014.

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Abstract

The following article will discuss the representation of food, eating and cooking in the context of fiction that focuses on the relationship between mothers and daughters by taking a closer look at the beginnings of contemporary ‘food-literature’ by female authors. By focusing on the novels Like Water for Chocolate, The Joy Luck Club and A Chorus of Mushrooms, three texts that were published before ‘food-literature’ turned into a mainstream sub-genre, this article will critically consider the various themes and ideas this type of literature introduced to the debate surrounding literary representation of gender and sexuality. Whilst the three texts differ in narrative structure and content, they share a specific preoccupation with food, cooking and eating which is linked textually and thematically to the relationships between mothers and daughters and the experience of cultural diaspora. The investigation will focus on the literary and formal modes that interconnect these themes, in particular when asking if food, cooking and eating should have a ‘special’ place in women’s writing, as it has been argued in recent publications exploring food and eating as a theme in women’s literature. Keywords: Amy Tan, Laura Esquivel, Hiromi Goto, food, identity, gender, diaspora.

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